A growing body of research demonstrates that experiential learning enhances student learning, success in the classroom, on-time graduation, and transition to the workforce. Many UGA students already engage in experiential learning, and ensuring that all students do so prior to graduation will take the world-class learning experience that UGA provides to an even higher level.

This page offers students information on internships previously completed by political science and international affairs majors, opportunities within organizations which have sought SPIA students in the past, links to internship resources via the UGA Career Center, and study abroad opportunities. It also provides information on how one may add an academic component to an applied experience.

The Undergraduate Office communicates information about internships and experiential learning opportunities which come to our attention through the Advising News & Updates listserv. Any UGA student can subscribe by e-mailing And one may follow our twitter account @spiadvis and Facebook page.

2018 Emerging Leaders Program

Interested in making a difference in the lives of fellow Georgians? There is no more impactful and satisfying career path than that of a public affairs leader. The University of Georgia and its partners in local and state government seek the first class of paid Emerging Leaders Interns who will spend 8 to 11 weeks interning in local or state government offices or in the nonprofit sector in Georgia during the summer of 2018. This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience in the areas of public policy, public services, public safety, and public wellbeing in the State of Georgia.

The application process is simple. Submit your resume and a short statement (no longer than 1-page, single-spaced) about why the Emerging Leaders Internship is a good fit for your interests. Additionally, students must also satisfy at least two of the following conditions: (1) history of overcoming unique challenges; (2) first generation college student; (3) member of a low income family; (4) reside in a rural or inner-city location; (5) raised in a single parent household. Please address these conditions, as they apply to you, in your short statement.

Submit your application materials directly to Paul Welch ( at the UGA School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) or contact Paul at 706-542-0096 for more information. Submissions are due by April 13, 2018.

Your application will be considered by a committee which will select prospective candidates for internships. SPIA and its UGA partners will facilitate contacts between candidate interns and candidate intern sponsors in local government and nonprofit agencies. The sponsors will make the final selection, and the intern experience will begin in May or June of 2018. All internships are paid.



SPIA partners with other entities to offer applied experiences for students in Athens, Atlanta, Washington, and beyond.

SPIA – Senator Johnny Isakson Public Policy Fellowship

Georgia Legislative Internship Program

CITS Russell Security Leadership Program

Washington Semester Program


Students interested in adding an academic component to an internship are required to secure an offer and arrange for a faculty sponsor. Keep in mind that most internships will not be suitable for academic credit, particularly those undertaken for just a few weeks during the summer semester. Pursuing an academic component to an internship opportunity adds a significant amount of intellectual effort to the work associated with the actual internship. Please note that SPIA does not allow graded credit for the internship itself, but for the additional academic component required by the faculty.

Professors will serve as sponsors only when convinced that a student has both the necessary preparation and ability to complete a successful research project during the internship. As part of that preparation, a student must have had at least one of the specified pre-requisite courses (found below under course offerings). Faculty members are under no obligation to offer internship credit to any student and will never do so retroactively.

After securing an offer, students must visit the advising office to obtain an Internship Request Form. After the advisor conducts a pre-requisite check, the student obtains the signature of an appropriate faculty member in either the Department of Political Science or Department of International Affairs who will act as supervisor. The signed Internship Request Form is returned to the advising office. As part of the enrollment process, students also are required to secure a letter of agreement from the agency or organization that will sponsor the internship. This letter should also be returned to the advising office. Permission to register for academic credit is granted only after this process is complete. When the process is complete, the student may register for the appropriate courses on Athena.


The course offerings for an academic component for internships permit students to enroll for 4 to 12 credit hours in four different areas:

  • Internship performance: One four-hour course graded an “S/U” for job performance. This requires formal feedback from the agency or organization that is sponsoring the internship. This course must be taken with one or both of the internship courses and applies to the program of study as a general elective.
  • Internship research paper: One four-hour course graded A-F for an original empirical research paper.
  • Internship analytical essays: One four-hour course graded A-F for 15 analytical essays in which students draw upon their upper division course work and “analyze” observations & ideas from their internship experience.

NOTE: Students are not allowed to enroll only in the S/U course. Students must take at least one, or both, of the other academic courses (research paper and/or analytical essays).

We expect that students will work “full time” for the agency or organization for at least twelve weeks over the course of a semester (9 weeks in the summer). The remainder of the semester should be used to focus on activities in support of the internship (including the completion of research for academic credit). Students and faculty supervisors will be in contact via e-mail on a regular basis. In addition, students are encouraged to return to campus to discuss academic requirements with the faculty supervisor for at least one meeting over the course of the semester.

Download the Internship Request Form [pdf]

These course offerings are designed to take into account the substantive content of both the internship and the previous academic work completed by that student. Pre-requisites are therefore tied to the substantive content of the internship and are strictly enforced. SPIA divides internship credit components into six different fields:

Legislative Internship (POLS 5100, 5101, 5102)
Internships related to state or national legislatures. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4660 Southern Politics

Lobbying Internship (POLS 5110, 5111, 5112)
Internships for lobbying organizations, including work for non-profits. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4540 Interest Group Politics or POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4650 State Politics or POLS 4070 Theories of Political Choice or POLS 4520 Electoral Behavior.

Campaigns Internship (POLS 5120, 5121, 5122)
Internships for organizations involved in political campaigns. Pre-requisite: one from POLS 4530 American Political Parties or POLS 4615 Campaign Politics or POLS 4510 Public Opinion and Democracy or POLS 4520 Electoral Behavior or POLS 4550 Government and the Mass Media or POLS 4600 Legislative Process or POLS 4640 Southern Politics.

Federal, State, or Local Government Internship (POLS 5130, 5131, 5132)
Internships for governmental agencies at any level, including courts, prosecutors, and public defenders. Pre-requisite (directly related to agency work): one from PADP 4620 Public Administration and Democracy, PADP 4630 Government Budgeting and Finance, POLS 4640 Urban Politics, POLS 4640 State Politics, POLS 4730 Criminal Law, POLS 4720 Criminal Procedure, POLS 4740 Judicial Process and Behavior.

International Affairs Internship (INTL 4720, 4721, 4722)
Internships related to international affairs including government agencies, think-tanks, and non-governmental agencies. Pre-requisite: one from INTL 3200 Introduction to International Relations or INTL 3300 Introduction to Comparative Politics.

Internships in law firms are generally not eligible for use in the political science internship programs unless the firm is directly involved with government relations, public policy, and/or campaign law. Students are responsible for identifying organizations to sponsor internships and faculty who will serve as supervisors. Consistent with past policy, students are encouraged to contact those faculty members who were their instructors for a previous upper division course to supervise academic credit. Graduate students and other part-time instructors may not sponsor students.



The Office of Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia offer SPIA undergraduate students opportunities for applied and academic study in Washington, D.C. via the Public Policy Fellowship.

A Fellow is selected each fall and spring term to work for Senator Isakson’s Senior Policy Advisor and legislative staff in Washington, D.C. She or he is directly involved with a broad range of issues and activities in support of Senator Isakson’s responsibilities in the fields of finance, education, labor, veteran’s affairs, and ethics.

The Fellow’s tasks include the following:

  • Assist in the preparation of background papers for the Senator’s meetings and Congressional hearings.
  • Attend selected Congressional hearings and prepare a summary of relevant points.
  • Analyze the major state and national events that impact U.S. policy and provide commentary on their significance.
  • Participate in discussions and briefings on public policy issues at universities and think tanks.
  • Research public policy topics using the Library of Congress and other Senate resources.
  • Coordinate with the Executive Branch on a broad range of domestic policy issues.
  • Work with other Senators’ offices and with Senate committees and coordinate Senator Isakson’s endorsement of relevant bills, resolutions, and letters.
  • Meet with individuals, on behalf of Senator Isakson, to discuss their concerns and interests in domestic policy affairs.

In addition to a stipend of $1,500 per month ($6,000 total for the term), the Fellow pursues academic credit under the supervision of a SPIA faculty member. This academic component compliments and enhances the applied learning of the Fellowship.

In order to apply, students should be 21 years of age by the start of the Fellowship and submit an application portfolio including:

  1. Fellowship Application
  2. A letter of application (see the Career Guide linked below for examples)
  3. A personal resume
  4. An official academic transcript (obtainable from the Office of the Registrar)
  5. A list of three references (at least two of which should be academic)

Applicant’s portfolios should be completed no later than March 1st for priority consideration to:

Office of the Dean
c/o SPIA Senatorial Public Policy Fellowship Selection Committee
School of Public and International Affairs
The University of Georgia
204 Candler Hall
Athens, GA 30602-1492

Finalists for the fellowship will be interviewed on campus in March, with final selections made shortly thereafter.

Additional information: All undergraduates 21 years of age are invited to apply. Required academic coursework will vary according to the Fellow’s academic preparation and needs. Usually, the Fellow independently arranges credit with a SPIA faculty member via political science or international affairs internship course credits.

The Career Guide published by The Career Center provides general information on writing letters of application and cover letters (pp. 33-34) and creating personal resumes (pp. 24-31). The Career Guide can be picked up at The Career Center in Clark Howell Hall or in the Candler Hall lobby and is available as a “pdf” download at

Transcripts can be ordered at the Registrar’s Office via Athena. Your list of references will ideally come from faculty members, although one outside reference is acceptable. Simply provide the names and contact information for the references. Letters of recommendation are not required.

Any questions can be forwarded to Paul Welch by email at or phone at (706) 542-0096.


It’s never too early to begin your search! Familiarize yourself with the companies or organizations in your area of interest. Visit their website, attend information sessions and join professional organizations. There are so many ways that you can get a head start. Check the deadlines for internships. The UGA Career Center can help you with your internship search. Each major is assigned a Career Consultant who can help you sharpen search skills, resume, cover letter, and interviewing techniques. To set up an appointment with your Career Consultant, just call (706) 542-3375 or visit their website.